Perspctives

Sep

17-25

2011

Landmark Project

John Pawson's Perspectives project formed part of the celebration of the 300th anniversary of the completion of St Paul's.

Characteristically, the grand master of minimalist architecture John Pawson regards his installation in one of London's greatest architectural works as being less about the physical piece he has created, and much more about what it revealed. 'It has never really been about what we put into the space,' said Pawson, 'so much as how we enable people to see what is already there.'

Offered a unique chance to work in the cathedral's rarely seen Geometric Staircase, Pawson created Perspectives, a work imaginatively designed to reveal the genius of Sir Christopher Wren's 17th century masterpiece in ways the viewer could not ordinarily see.

The elegant sprialling staircase, built to provide access through the Dean's door to the upper levels of the cathedral, including the library, is not usually on view to the public - and even if you were to visit it you would not be able to see it in quite the same way as Pawson allowed. Collaborating with Swarovski, Pawson created a precision-made meniscus - the largest lens possible to manufacture. 

This was located at the bottom of the stairwell, sitting on a much larger reflective hemisphere, with a spherical convex mirror suspsended in the tower's cupola above. Together these optical devices created an extraoridnary composite image of the view up through the tower for visitors gathered around the hemisphere at the base, allowing them, as Pawson said 'to see beyond the level of the naked eye'. 

Pawson's Perspectives project formed part of the celebration of the 300th anniversary of the completion of St Paul's. 

Interestingly, Pawon's work fulfiled one of Wren's ambitions - that each of his buildings should include a scientific instrument of some kind. 

For Swarovski, Perspectives at St Paul's Cathedral marked the apothesis of its 10-year Crystal Palace project, an experiemtnal design platform developed by Nadja Swarovski, allowing designers including Ron Arad, Zaha Hadid, Tom DIxon, Ross Lovegrove, Tokujin Yoshioka, Tord Boontje, Arik Levy, Yves Behar and Gaetano Pesce to develop extraordinary work using crystal. 

Supported by Swarovski Crystal Palace.

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